The above illustrated version of The Flying Machine, drawn by Bernie Krigstein, was adapted from a text version of a short story written by Ray Bradbury that was originally published in a book called The Golden Apples of the Sun in 1953. The illustrated version, above, appeared in Entertainment Comics' Weird Science-Fantasy #23 in 1954. In the original, "The Flying Machine" appeared along with 21 other short stories.(see)
As for myself, even before I reached the ripe old age of 10 and long before any version of the Chinese flying machine showed up in print, at least in English, I had, like the Chinese pilot, developed an almost uncontrolled interest in human powered flight. Much to my parents and guardians chagrin, my early childhood seemed to have been filled with nothing but a never ending string of attempts to fly by jumping off one-story porches, garages, and higher and higher roof tops.
Even though at first I used bed sheets made into parachutes or tied to my wrists and ankles behind my back a la the glider chute of Captain Midnight, my very, very first serious attempt to build an airplane-like craft that would actually carry me in flight over any distance was based on the glider I saw in the 1947 movie Tarzan and the Huntress, shown below with Tarzan's chimp Cheetah trying to fly it, combined with an already in place obsession with the works of the fabled Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci.
The springboard for it all began because of an ill-conceived view I developed regarding my older brother and all the attention he seemingly received from my mother all the time as he was learning to read.
My older brother was born three years before me, and thus then, because of that, started school several years before I did. As he went from kindergarten through to the third grade my mother spent hours helping him to learn to read. Even though I hadn't started school because of being too young, to get in on the act and gain my mother's attention like my brother seemed to have I learned to read right along with him. By the time he reached third grade and I started kindergarten, I was reading third grade books probably as well or better than he was.
Two books I remember fondly right up to this day, both hardcover, that my mother and brother read over and over or I chose to read myself, was one about Hoover Dam showing how it was constructed, it's inner workings with row after row of power generators and one with pages of black and white line drawings of Da Vinci's flying machines. Why either of those two books or the contents therein would standout so much in my memory relative to any other books I or the three of us may have read is not known.
On the third page of ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, relating living with my artist Uncle some years following the death of my mother, I write that it was under his auspices somewhere approaching or near age ten that I first heard of Leonardo Da Vinci. Actually, more clearly what happened was, after reading a Da Vinci story titled 500 Years Too Soon, linked below, around that same time, and because of my interest in it, my Uncle began showing me pictures of Da Vinci's flying machines in earnest. So saying, I recognized them from my past as a preschool three or four-year old, I just didn't know (or remember) who Leonardo was specifically or how the drawings related to either him or me.
Within a few days of having read 500 Years Too Soon for the first time, one way or the other, I saw the 1947 Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie titled Tarzan and the Huntress. No soon had I seen it than my interest in Da Vinci flying machines exploded after seeing the scene where Tarzan's son Boy builds a glider-type plane capable of flying and their chimp Cheetah, apparently gauging the glider's potential, steals it. Hanging on for dear life Cheetah jumps off some rocks and covers quite some distance before crashing into the trees. Haranguing my uncle over and over on the idea of flying in the same manner, he eventually laid out a life size drawing of a Da Vinci like craft on the floor of the studio and from there, together, we built an actual machine capable of flying while carrying a person, hopefully me, in flight.
(for larger size please click image)
(please click image)
Under the skillful guidance of my Uncle and a seemingly unlimited supply of money provided through the graciousness and wealth of my Stepmother, I researched and studied everything I could find on Leonardo and his flying machines. My uncle and I read magazine articles, scoured used books stores, went to libraries, talked to professors, and even obtained what initially became our working 'bible,' a copy of The Mechanical Investigations of Leonardo da Vinci written by Ivor B. Hart and published in 1925. Then, gathering all the info, we put about building our own machine by combining our 1948 ideas with Leonardo's fifteenth century ideas and Otto Lilienthal's 1895 ideas of some four-hundred years later.
THE WANDERLING'S FIRST FLIGHT USED A HAND-BUILT FLYING MACHINE FROM A LILIENTHAL DESIGN
Even though my uncle had stopped the design and construction of the flying machine because of some problems with my older brother, mainly inter-sibling rivalry, the stoppage, although only a minor blip in time, seemed like forever to me. It wasn't very long before my uncle discovered it wasn't worth all the effort he had to put forth to stop me, so in reality not a whole lot of actual physical time elapsed before the two of us were back feet first into finishing it, with most of our difficulties in doing so stemming from stretching the fabric to a flight worthy satisfaction. Eventually we were able to complete the flyer to such a point we both felt it would actually work.
However, no real plans were set into motion to attempt a flight, and with no prospect in sight for doing so, one day, taking matters in my own hands and without my uncle's knowledge or approval, a friend of mine and I hauled it out of it's lair and up to the top of the second story apartments across the street, re the following:
"It was only a short time after returning from the desert during the summer of 1948 that I, just before school started and around age 10 or so, removed the flying machine my uncle and I built from the hanging position of it's construction lair and hauled it up to the rooftop of the second story building across the street. Then, holding onto the machine for dear life, I jumped off.
"At first the craft seemed easily able to maintain the same two-story height advantage over quite some distance. But then, partway into the flight, instead of continuing in the direction I wanted, it began tipping lower on the right and turning. Without ailerons or maneuverable rudder controls and with inexperienced over-correcting on my part creating an adverse yaw followed by a sudden stall, the ensuing results ended with a somewhat dramatic drop, crashing into the porch and partway through the front windows of the house diagonally across the way."
As far as the "lack of flight controls mechanisms," unknown to me or my uncle at the time we were building the flying machine, the design we used was based on a Lilienthal model known as Type IX (9). If you take a good look at the graphic just below this paragraph as well as the cigarette trading card found by clicking the image, you will notice the wing on the right in the photo as well as the card, between the 5th and 8th rib, there appears to be what looks like some wrinkles in the fabric. That damage was part of the results of the Type IX crashing, and doing so under almost the exact circumstances as my flyer --- with the same outcome. Little did my uncle and I know, with the information we had at hand, that the design we were using had stalled and crashed when Lilienthal flew it for the first time. If we had known, we could either used another design or taken into consideration safeguards to ensure the same results would not happen to us, i.e., me. See:
LILIENTHAL GLIDER TYPE IX (TYPE 9)
(please click image)
(please click image)
TARZAN AND THE HUNTRESS
Howard Hughes, Da Vinci, and Flying Machines
EARLY FLYERS FROM ICARUS TO LILIENTHAL
LEONARDO DA VINCI: 500 YEARS TO SOON
THE DA VINCI GLIDER CIRCA 1500 AD
THE FLYING FRONTIERSMAN
THE WASHOE ZEPHYR
THE BLACK CONDOR: THE MAN WHO COULD FLY LIKE A BIRD
FLYING MACHINE OF DIEGO MARIN AGUILERA, FLOWN IN 1793
SO, DID THE WANDERLING FLY?
ON THE RAZOR'S
BELOW IS A LINK THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO A TEXT VERSION OF THE
FLYING MACHINE AS FOUND IN THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN:
THE FLYING MACHINE
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
During the same century as attributed to the story of the above flight, some fifty-eight years later in 458 AD, as found in Chinese historical records (i.e., History of the Liang Dynasty, compiled circa 600 AD), a Buddhist monk named Hui Shen from somewhere within the landlocked area adjacent to China which now days would be considered Afghanistan, along with several other monks (some say as few as four, others say as many as 40), sailed across the north Pacific from China to North America, with Hui Shen returning in 499 AD to report his adventures to the court of the Chinese emperor. See:
BUDDHISM IN AMERICA BEFORE COLUMBUS
ANCIENT CHINESE IDEOGRAPHS IN NATIVE AMERICAN ROCK ART
In the 1947 black and white Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie Tarzan and the Huntress, the ape-man's son Boy, builds a glider-type plane capable of flying while carrying him. Before he has a chance to test it, their chimp Cheetah, apparently seeing the glider's potential, steals it. Hanging on for dear life Cheetah jumps off some rocks covering quite some distance through the air before eventually crashing into the trees and falling to the ground.
(to see the full length movie click the graphic)
FAST FORWARD TO THE 41 MINUTE MARK FOR GLIDER SCENE
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